Tag Archives: Money

National Treasures – The 50 Córdoba Bill

This is a post in our series On Culture and Currency: History Lessons in the Palms of our Hands.

Cañón de Somoto

Cañón de Somoto
Cañón de Somoto

The Somoto Canyon is one of the true treasures of Nicaragua. Only recently has this natural wonder been utilized as an eco-tourism destination, so it still feels off the beaten path. In the department of Madríz, in the northern most section of the country, the Rio Coco has formed this beautiful feature. When my sister, Kari, came to visit last year, Continue reading National Treasures – The 50 Córdoba Bill


Dicho for Financial Expectation Management

The new group of Peace Corps Trainees arrived this week, crazy!  Welcome Nica 68!  It seems like a few months ago (and a lifetime ago) that we were just starting our Peace Corps experience.  Over the next three months, but especially during the next couple weeks, they’ll be getting a crash course on Nicaraguan culture and ways to avoid faux pas.  Hopefully, this dicho can help a bit:

A la ley de Santa Marta, cada quien pago lo que se harta – By the law of Saint Martha, everyone pays for what they stuff themselves with.

Without context, you may not see why this phrase is important.  However, consider that during training we receive about $10 a week.  Our meals and lodging are paid directly by Peace Corps, but $10 is all we get for snacks, transport, etc.  We’re also trying to integrate and get to know our host family and community members, so could very likely invite a new Nica friend to do something with us around town.  But beware! In Nicaragua, the Spanish verb invitar suggests that you will cover all the expenses of the invitee.  Try to clarify and say “Vamos a la ley de Santa Marta.”

Turns out the connotations of invitar aren’t just unique to Nicaragua.  During our trip to Guatemala, I learned they have a similar expression:  la ley de Jesús Cristo, cada quien con su pisto – by the law of Jesus Christ, everyone uses their own money.

Transparency is always the best policy in these situations, because, as they say, cuentas claras conservan amistades – settled accounts maintain friendships.


Small but Mighty – The History of the 10 Córdoba Bill

This is a post in our series On Culture and Currency: History Lessons in the Palms of our Hands.

While Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, it is barely half the size of Oregon, my home state.  My concept of country size has been challenged many times, including when I unknowingly befriended the godson of the Vice President of Nicaragua. What Nicaragua lacks in geographical presence it makes up for in a plucky, underdog spirit that is woven into its historical narrative.  Two such examples are displayed on the (fittingly) smallest bill: 10 Córdobas. Continue reading Small but Mighty – The History of the 10 Córdoba Bill

On Currency and Culture: History Lessons in the Palms of our Hands

Upon arriving to a new country, one of the first experiences of culture is placed right in our hands – money.  You need to exchange it, need to know how much it is worth in comparison with your own currency, and need some time before it no longer feels like Monopoly money.  What we sometimes miss as guests in a foreign land is the importance of what is on that currency.  The images and symbols chosen to represent a culture and people say a lot about the values and history of the country itself.

Over our time here, we’ve learned a bit more about the symbols and historic places on Nicaraguan currency.  And if you will permit us to be a little nerdy, a few history lessons are in store for you, dear readers.  Each of these colorful and beautiful bills has a story (or two) to tell.

Exchange rates

When we arrived in Nicaragua  (August 13, 2014):

  • 1 Córdoba = 0.0386 US Dollars
  • 26.015 Córdobas = 1 US Dollar

When this post was originally written (May 21, 2015):

  • 1 Córdoba = 0.0369 US Dollars
  • 27.133 Córdobas = 1 US Dollar

Now-ish (as of April 10, 2017):

  • 1 Córdoba = 0.03 US Dollars
  • 29.72 Córdobas = 1 US Dollar

Symbols and Places on the Nicaraguan Córdoba:

With the time we have left in our service we hope to visit and/or learn about each of the places on the bills and share their stories with you.

Our Budgeting Rocks Thanks to Coach Brown

Envelope system

With taxes due right around the corner, we thought we give a shout out to Coach Brown Financial Planning.  Coach Brown helped us start our married financial lives on the same page.  Our budgeting skills sure are helpful here in Nicaragua, where we’re living off of $300 monthly salaries!  If you would like to get a better handle on your financial well being, we highly recommend Coach Brown.